Transportation Constitutional Law

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Valuing Rail Corridors

In the aftermath of last year’s Rails-to-Trails Decision, Marvin M. Brandt Revocable Trust v. United States, 572 U.S. ___ (2014), the valuation of rail corridors may become increasingly necessary.  Typically there are three...more

California Supreme Court To Resolve Appellate Court Split on Federal Preemption in Railroad Regulation

On December 10, 2014, the California Supreme Court granted petition for review in Friends of the Eel River v. North Coast Railroad Authority to resolve a split between the First and Third District Courts of Appeal. (230...more

Senate Poised to Debate Keystone XL Pipeline, Other Key Energy Issues

In the wake of the U.S. House of Representatives' passage of legislation to approve the long-stalled Keystone XL pipeline, the Senate now stands poised to take up the measure beginning this week, opening the door to other key...more

Public Works Board Moving Forward with Condemnations as High Speed Rail Project Breaks Ground

As the High Speed Rail Authority (“Authority”) prepares to begin construction this week of the first segment of the High Speed Rail Project (the “Project”), the State Public Works Board is concurrently scrambling to consider...more

Keystone Pipeline May Be First Clash between President and New Congress

So the new Congress has been sworn in back in Washington, and the nation gears up for the first big clash between the Republican-controlled Congress and President Obama.  What will the first major battle be:  health care;...more

Michigan Puts New Road-Funding Tax Structure Up For May 5 Referendum Vote

Michigan voters will have the final say on approving a deal between Gov. Rick Snyder and the Michigan Legislature to overhaul the state’s tax structure to fund road improvements at a referendum election on May 5, 2015. The...more

Drone on Drones: New Court Decision Reflects Shifting Views on Privacy in Public

Whenever drone policy is raised as a topic, privacy concerns follow close behind it as a discussion point. The idea of aerial surveillance that is cheaper, less time-intensive and requires fewer man hours to get off the...more

Aviation & Aerospace and Surface Transportation Quarterly Newsletter

In This Issue: - Update on Developments in California Drone Law - One Community Gets Relief from Aircraft Noise - California Once Again Relinquishes Clean Air Act Enforcement Responsibility to the...more

City of Needles may use Eminent Domain for I-40 Connector Project

According to Robin Richard’s article, “Needles May Exercise Eminent Domain to make way for Highway 95 Connector,” the City of Needles is considering adopting Resolutions of Necessity to acquire 14 parcels for its long-planned...more

Eminent Domain Begins for County of Sacramento Road Projects

As traffic continues to increase and roadways become more congested, California’s transportation infrastructure needs to keep up. While there has been a concerted focus on alternative methods of transportation (such as rail,...more

Railroad Commission Chairwoman: “It’s My Job to Give Permits, Not Denton’s”

At a November 6 event, Texas Railroad Commission Chairwoman Christi Craddick unequivocally stated that the Commission would continue to issue drilling permits to operators in Denton, despite the November 4 vote making it the...more

Infrastructure on the Ballot

I love voting on Election Day. Not early voting, not absentee voting, but waiting in line with my friends and neighbors, going into a semi-private booth and pressing a button, pulling a lever or using whatever modern voting...more

First District Holds CEQA’s Application To Public Agency’s Approval of Railroad Operations Is Preempted By Federal Law Despite...

The North Coast Railroad Authority (NCRA), a public agency established by state law, contracted with Northwestern Pacific Railroad Company (NWPRC) to allow NWPRC to conduct freight services on tracks controlled by NCRA....more

Drone on Drones: Gov. Brown Vetoes AB 1327, Protecting Police Use of Drones

Amid controversy over the bill and its potential consequences, Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed AB 1327 this Sunday. The bill would have required law enforcement agencies to obtain a warrant before using a drone to gather criminal...more

Planet of the Drones: The Evolution of Privacy Laws in Light of Emerging Drone Technology

Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), more popularly known as drones, are a complex and transformative technology that has demonstrated its value in military applications across the globe. Although the Federal Aviation...more

Texas Railroad Commission Proposes New Rules Related to Pipeline Eminent Domain Claims

The November 2011 issue of the Energy Newsletter addressed the case of Texas Rice Land Partners, Ltd. v. Denbury Green Pipeline-Texas, LLC, in an article titled Texas Supreme Court Ruling May Slow the Installation of Certain...more

Drone on Drones: Government Regulation of Drones in Law Enforcement

While a controversial proposed state bill that would restrict law enforcement agencies’ use of drones is drawing criticism, the federal government is also tackling ways to regulate the use of this new technology. These...more

An Update of Flow Control Jurisprudence since United Haulers

Since United Haulers Association v. Oneida-Herkimer Solid Waste Management Authority, 550 U.S. 330, 344 (2007), most courts have upheld local flow control ordinances as constitutional under that holding. ...more

Full Steam Ahead for Eminent Domain Actions after High Speed Rail Authority Negotiations End in Impasse

The State Public Works Board (the “Board”) adopted four Resolutions of Necessity approving the High-Speed Rail Authority’s (the “Authority”) use of eminent domain for public necessity to acquire four parcels in Fresno and...more

Amtrak's Metrics-Making Power Hangs In The Balance

In July 2013, the D.C. Circuit ruled that Section 207 of the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008 ("PRIIA"), under which Amtrak and the Federal Railroad Administration ("FRA") jointly established metrics and...more

Supreme Court Grants Certiorari to Review D.C. Circuit Decision Hampering Amtrak's On-Time Performance

On June 23rd, the U.S. Supreme Court granted the government’s Writ of Certiorari to review the decision of the D.C. Circuit that many believe may be hampering Amtrak’s leverage with freight railroads and its on-time...more

Congress Considers Transportation Appropriations Provisions, Other Legislation Impacting Aviation

On Capitol Hill, legislators are working to pass a Transportation Appropriations bill that will fund aviation programs during the 2015 fiscal year. As part of the appropriations process, members of the House and Senate are...more

Six Days on the Road and I'm Gonna Park My Truck to Comply with State Laws Tonight

My apologies to Dave Dudley. The song “Six Days on the Road” just doesn’t stand up to the changes we would have to make after the Ninth Circuit’s decision that the state meal and rest break laws are not preempted by federal...more

No-Fly List Ruled Unconstitutional

On June 24th, a federal judge in Oregon ruled that the government’s no-fly list, which seeks to prevent people with suspected terrorism ties from traveling to or within the United States, is unconstitutional. The lawsuit was...more

PART TWO: Unmanned Aircraft Systems (“UAS”) – aka Drones Legal Issues: Where Are We Headed?

There have been almost daily news stories about the advent of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (“UAVs”), also referred to as “drones,” and how commercial usage is expected to explode over the next several years. There have been...more

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